21 Sep 2005

Ex-coup convict in Fiji tells of order to shoot hostage MPs

9:41 am on 21 September 2005

A former Fiji coup convict says the seven Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit soldiers who seized the Chaudhry government in May 2000 had orders "to shoot to kill."

Their original orders were to execute members of the Chaudhry government.

The Fiji Sun says this has been revealed by the president of the Nationalist Vanua Tako Lavo Party, Viliame Savu, who says they had to plead with the leader of the soldiers, Vilimoni Tikotani, to change the plan.

Mr Savu says "there would have been a lot of bloodshed and lots of dead bodies if the soldiers had carried out the executions in parliament."

Mr Savu, who has served a jail sentence for his role in the coup, says he feels it is time for him to clear his conscience on what happened.

Mr Savu says the Counter Revolutionary Warfare soldiers seized the opportunity of a protest march through Suva to stage the coup.

He says the march was a diversion because it meant all the security was focussed on Suva while there was hardly any attention on parliament.